On Oct. 31, 1927, Mary Pickford’s silent film My Best Girl was screened at what was then the United Artists Theatre, and what is now the Theatre at the Ace Hotel, in downtown L.A. Ninety years later to the day, a new restaurant helmed by L.A.’s beloved chef Michael Cimarusti opened in the Ace Hotel. He named it Best Girl.
The interior of Best Girl is identical to that of the restaurant space's previous iteration, L.A. Chapter. But with a new name, menu and team behind it comes a new restaurant, one that will likely be busier than before, due to Cimarusti’s pedigree. He'll be working alongside his wife, pastry chef Crisi Echiverri, while leaving the front of the house to his business partner Donato Poto.
Best Girl is a departure from Cimarusti’s signature seafood-focused style. Unlike his other eateries — Providence, Connie and Ted’s, Cape Seafood and Provisions, and the new Il Pesce Cucina at Eataly L.A. — Best Girl offers a more well-rounded menu designed to appeal to hotel guests and theatergoers out on the town.
Still, the food at Best Girl is more ambitious than it was at L.A. Chapter. Order a cocktail like the Lucky Girl (pisco, lime, grapefruit liqueur and hibiscus) and it arrives garnished with crisp grapes and a folded fortune to help you see into your future. Baked clams with garlicky herb butter, breadcrumbs and lemon are, unsurprisingly given Cimarusti's passions, a must-order. Speaking of seafood, the crab cake with remoulade and pickles is also a highlight; chickpea fries come with a cup of spicy anchovy aioli. Even a basic menu item like the simple green salad is composed of fresh local market lettuces.
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Though guests familiar with Cimarusti might be inclined to only order seafood, the restaurant does good work with vegetables and red meat, too. The grilled hanger steak with winter squash purée, pickled cipollini onions and horseradish is a star. And don't forget Echiverri's desserts, like the apple crostata with house-made apple butter, vanilla ice cream and cider syrup.
927 S. Broadway, downtown; (213) 235-9660; bestgirldtla.com.